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Posts tagged ‘Unity Ritual’

Unity Ritual for Couples & Families

One of the most fun endeavors in my work as a Life-Cycle Celebrant© is revisiting and reinventing rituals to make them relevant today. I often witness couples desiring a Unity Ritual in their ceremony, yet not one they’ve seen too many times. Here is an example of a fresh idea: Love Padlocks. (Well, perhaps it’s an oldie resurfacing again!) The stories and derivations vary widely – from an old Chinese custom to present day love-locks occurring at special sites around the world – all combining to make this ritual reinvention pretty fun! You can fit the ritual to reflect who you are as a couple or a blended family upon entering marriage.

The essence of the idea is simple: you feel so safe and committed to each other as a couple or family, that your love is joining your hearts and souls together forever. You need not ever undo this joining of your hearts and the lock symbolizes this. Once the locks are joined, releasing the keys to the elements represents no need to undo the bond. The keys may fly up into the air while tied to a bunch of helium balloons, thrown into a body of water, buried in the earth at a special place after the ceremony; or to complete the element possibilities, I can imagine keys being tossed into a bonfire where the setting is safe and appropriate.

On Saturday, I led a romantic red and black wedding at the scenic JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, wherein we included the Love Padlock ritual. The Bride and Groom ordered their customized locks from Lock-itz, an online provider with great resources for many occasions. This photo gives you an idea of how customized the locks can be:

You can see the keys tied with ribbons before the ceremony, ready to be tied into a bunch of helium balloons by the Bride and Groom after closing the locks together. My Celebrant colleagues in Australia have been practicing this ritual for awhile, as you can see in a video here. The most critical piece of releasing the keys to the sky is ensuring the keys are tied to a loop of ribbon holding the whole bunch of balloons. This way physics can do the work necessary to carry both keys up into the sky, with a dramatic release! I’ll admit we had a minor snafu during this ritual, albeit with a great outcome. The theme of the couple’s love story was ‘adventures in everyday patience’ and was it ever relevant right then and there! One balloon didn’t travel into the sky. I hid it under the ceremony table for the adorable ring bearer to have later. He was aching for one of these balloons before the ceremony. The parents happily tied the balloon to his wrist, so they could see where he went during the reception. And was he ever overjoyed to get his own balloon! The errant key is gone forever. I’m not telling what I did with it! 🙂

Stay tuned, I’ll share another story soon about an October wedding with love padlocks for a blended family . . . and hopefully have more photos to share.



A Spicy Unity Ritual Alternative

Do you want to include a unity ritual in your wedding, yet feel like you’ve seen sand blending or candle lighting happen enough already? Universally and personally, an active ritual to symbolize your union adds depth and interest to the ceremony. (And sometimes, blending sand or lighting candles does fit well.)

Here is a fun alternative to consider: Blending Spices. For this wedding I led between Katherine and Matt, who share a passion for cooking together, we called it their ‘Spice of Life Ritual’. They also share a faith in God, so we incorporated symbolism from the Bible, based on their beliefs. This is an excerpt from the ceremony we co-created:

A Custom Spice Blending Ritual for Matt & Katherine

Making a commitment to each other through marriage means you combine your gifts and together, you make a greater difference in the world than you would as individuals. Just as spices complete a recipe, you complete each other. You have chosen a few spices to layer in this glass vessel one at a time, signifying your own personalities and talents. In this way, you symbolically combine who you are forever.

Just as the spices become intermingled and will never be the same again, so do your lives as you join in marriage. You will begin and end by pouring in salt, for it is pure and essential. Go ahead and pour the first layer of salt . . . (Couple pours first layer of salt together . . .)

This salt symbolizes love – God’s love for you – and your love for each other. This love will be the foundation upon which you build your life together. In the Bible, covenants of salt were made to insure lasting and permanent pacts, as salt symbolized the eternal nature of the covenant. Your marriage is such a covenant, perpetual and everlasting.

As you pour the following spices, which you will layer between the salt, I will name each and its symbolism:

(Couple begins to pour one spice at a time . . . )

As they held a single glass to pour the spices in one at a time, I read the symbolic meaning of each spice or herb, as follows:

Sage ~ for wisdom and long life;

Rosemary ~ freshly collected from your yard, to symbolize remembrance, love and fidelity;

Paprika ~ for passion;

Poppy seeds ~ for prosperity;

Lavender ~ for calm in the face of difficulties and seeing the opportunities in life;

Thyme  ~ for courage and strength.

Now finish with pouring the final layer of salt. What a beautiful work of art you have created! Please keep this in your home as a remind of this special day. Let these spices symbolize the blessings of your joining and how you have combined the essences of who you are, forever.”

During their ceremony and in the preparation for it, this Bride and Groom had a super fun time participating in this spicy unity ritual together. The Groom collected the rosemary himself, from their yard. The Bride and I shopped together for the bulk herbs/spices and had so much fun! The Bride and her now Mother-in-law shopped for the glass vessels. While I set up the ritual prior to the ceremony, the guitarist even enjoyed smelling the lavender. I carried the finished product over to the reception (displayed next to the sign-in book created by Sarah Neyhart) so guests could enjoy the  couple’s creation up-close. All in all, we immensely enjoyed co-creating this custom ritual!

Inside the Chapel at Tubac Golf Resort & Spa ~ ritual table front & center.

A peek of the TGR Chapel from the outside ~ so beautiful!

This wedding occurred at the lush and inviting Tubac Golf Resort and Spa in Tubac, Arizona. Everyone enjoyed the setting on a monsoon afternoon in June. Other vendors (with whom I love to work!) included:

Colleen LaFleur of La Fleur Plantscapes

Sarah Neyhart Photography

Mark Wilsey on Guitar from Reno del Mar